The tone of the hydrofracking regulatory conversation has changed pretty drastically over the last week or so. Solid Shale has a long list of details you absolutely should read, but the two key ones I see (from a Dryden perspective) are:
Anschutz giving up on its lawsuit against Dryden, letting most leases expire while passing the suit itself to Norse Energy. It's not over, and Tom West will likely continue to be a headache for Dryden, but this is still a huge shift for us.
The New York State calendar for issuing the regulations - not the SGEIS, the regulations - on fracking faces a reset because it's gone on too long. This means new public hearings, and so on. Add that to the decision to add the Department of Health to the review, and it could be a long time before approval for anything.
It's not over until it's over, but that seems likely to be a long ways away.
Update: Here's the New York Times with similar speculation.
The DEC now has a site with maps and details about the Deer Management Focus Area they added to this year's hunting season. Via Dryden Daily KAZ, who points out other changes in the calendar.
Bow-hunting season for deer opened October 1st.
Another New York State Supreme Court Justice has supported Dryden's position that it has the power to ban gas drilling through zoning. The same decision threw out the City of Binghamton's own moratorium because it didn't fit the judge's take on New York State's rules, but wrote:
Recently two cases have been decided regarding the pre-emption of local laws pertaining to gas explorations, storage, and extraction. In those cases, the Honorable Philip R. Rumsey in Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden, 35 Misc.3d 450, and the Honorable Donald F. Cerio, Jr. in Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, 35 Misc.3d 767, in well reasoned, well founded decisions, determined that ECL 23-0303(2) does not supersede local government's rights to regulate the use of lands within their jurisdictions. This court adopts the reasoning of those cases and holds that Local Law 11-006 [the Binghamton law] is not superseded by ECL-23-0303(2). (Emphasis added.)
The plaintiffs and supporters of drilling may be cheering a victory for now, but that last sentence suggests that it may not be a lasting victory.
Whether you live in Varna or are just interested in what happens at the Community Center, you're welcome to come to the open house event tomorrow, Sunday, October 7th, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.
You'll be able to:
Tour the Community Center facilities
Meet our pancake breakfast cooks!
Find out who uses the Center
Learn about our commercial kitchen and the people who rent it
Discover ways to participate in the community
Jim Skaley also writes that:
Come to the Open House at the Varna Community Center next Sunday from 1-3, Oct 7. One very important item to learn about is the Hamlet Plan. The latest update is this: There will be a public hearing on the Plan by the Planning Board at the Town Hall expected on Oct 25. The Planning Board will then officially recommend to the Town Board to adopt the Varna Plan and amend the Town Comprehensive Plan to include it.
At the Planning Board meeting on the 25th it is expected to include final determinations for the updated zoning for the Hamlet. The expectation is that the Hamlet Plan and its updated zoning will be approved as one document hopefully by the December Town Board meeting. The Town Board will also need to have a public hearing on the zoning and Plan.
I will be available for questions at the open house on Oct 7. Please come and enjoy some conversation and refreshments.
I'll have more on this when I have a chance to read the filings, but Attorney Tom West filed an appeal yesterday on the case he lost over the Town of Dryden's ban on gas drilling. The Plaintiff has changed from Anschutz Exploration, a business owned by a reclusive billionaire, to the Norwegian Norse Energy.
The weirdest part, though, is this:
"There is very little funding for these appeals. In fact, although one operator has pledged a small amount, we have not been paid yet. Although this issue is critical to industry, the lack of funding is directly related to the apathy towards New York based upon the low commodity pricing and the high degree of regulatory uncertainty...."
So, in other words, West is appealing without getting paid? "Yes," he said.
I missed the Cortland Standard article, but WSYR and WHCU both report that the Village of Dryden has taken a $25,000 grant from New York State to consider disbanding its police force - which WHCU reports is 38% of the Village budget.
I have a really hard time imagining the Village of Dryden without any police force, but Freeville did give up the police protection they'd been buying from Dryden, so maybe it's possible. The Sheriff and State Police seem a lot less likely to be able to devote the same kind of resources.
We finished installing the stove back in September, but just started building a fire in it on Tuesday. (Most of the delay was my travel and general overload.)
After looking through the challenges of plumbing for the water jacket, we decided to hold off at least a year on using it. It's great that we had it installed, as that means it will be much easier to do when it's time, but taking it out means that we can use the stove this winter without getting all the plumbing done.
Bob Rozzoni of Holy Smoke came by Tuesday morning to make sure that every thing looked good with the water jacket out, and Code Enforcement Officer Dave Sprout came by Tuesday to make sure we were in compliance. We were, so it was time to start building small fires.
Rozzoni definitely recommended a slow break-in process, to let the cast iron find its way though expansion and contraction. We also need to burn off some of the packing grease, which smells pretty terrible despite our efforts to clean as much off as possible. I'm very glad to be doing this when it's warm enough to have windows and doors open. The draft in the chimney seems to work well, though I need to get better at starting the fire. Hopefully we'll be building real fires, larger ones that are easier to keep lit, by the end of the month.
It's a different kind of event, but one I suspect will be a lot of fun!
The Cafe is hosting a volunteer group from Cornell University this Saturday, October 20, from 2-6pm.
We looking for anyone who would like to come and join them and help spruce up the Cafe.
You can come for part or all of the time. Bring cleaning equipment - buckets, sponges, etc.
Different types of work:
- clearing and cleaning all shelves
- cleaning fan blades and light fixtures
- moving and cleaning behind appliances
- cleaning undersides of all tables & chairs
- cleaning cupboard doors
We hope to see you there! Call the Cafe at 844-1500 and let us know you'll join us. If you don't get a chance to call, come anyway!
For more on what this is about, see here. The claim includes eastern parts of the Town of Dryden.
For word on what's coming here in particular, my favorite source is easily GrotonWeather.com. It's local, it's detailed, and it's clear. You absolutely want to follow their news!